Sir Stanley Spencer, CBE, RA (Cookham 1891– Cliveden 1959)
National Trust Inventory Number 790191

Category Art / Oil paintings
Date 1927 - 1932
Materials Oil on canvas
Measurements 1054 x 1854 mm (41 1/2 x 73 in)
Place of origin Burghclere
Collection Sandham Memorial Chapel, Hampshire
On show at Sandham Memorial Chapel, Hampshire, London and South East, National Trust

This seems a quintessentially English scene, with the mismatched fabrics, stripy wallpaper, and pin-ups above the bed (both Hilda and Spencer’s father are shown). It has been suggested that the scene shows a hospital ward in a requisitioned house in Salonika, but it is more likely to be a fusion of memories of Beaufort and Macedonia, where Spencer had been a patient.

A figure – perhaps Spencer himself – is cocooned inside his blankets, but unlike his companions in Frostbite, he is upright, his expressive, oversized toes dancing on the urn-like form of the hot water bottle.

Summary description

Oil painting on canvas, Bedmaking by Sir Stanley Spencer, CBE, RA (Cookham 1891– Cliveden 1959), 1927/32. A hospital ward in a requisitioned house in Salonika (though this is disputed by academics Paul Gough, Keith Bell and biographer of Spencer, Kenneth Pople), with two sick soldiers stood wrapped in bed covers trying to keep warm as their beds are made. Postcards upon the wall behind the bed include portraits of Hilda Spencer (née Carline), Spencer’s father at the doorway of Hedsor Church, Cookham, and an image of Stanley Spencer's niece Pam as a baby, whilst further images were inspired by Spencer’s maid in Burghclere, Elsie.


Given with the chapel by John Louis Behrend (1881- 1972) and Mary Sandham Behrend (1884 - 1977), 1947

Makers and roles

Sir Stanley Spencer, CBE, RA (Cookham 1891– Cliveden 1959), artist

Exhibition history

Stanley Spencer: Heaven in a Hell of War, Manchester City Art Gallery, Manchester, 2013 - 2015
Stanley Spencer: Heaven in a Hell of War, Somerset House, London, 2013 - 2015
Stanley Spencer: Heaven in a Hell of War, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, 2013 - 2015


Bell 1992 Keith Bell, Stanley Spencer, A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings, Phaidon Press, London 1992, p.424
Stanley Spencer (ed. Keith Bell), Royal Academy of Arts, London with Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1980, p.112
Behrend 1965 George Behrend, Stanley Spencer at Burghclere, London, MacDonald, 1965, p.32-37
Gough 2006 Paul Gough, Stanley Spencer: Journey to Burghclere, Samson & Company, Bristol, 2006, p.129-131

Related items

Place of origin Burghclere (22)
Materials Canvas (10106)
Oil paint (8518)
Category Art / Oil paintings (12615)
Collection Sandham Memorial Chapel, Hampshire (71)
Periods 20th century (180497)
Maker Sir Stanley Spencer, CBE, RA (Cookham 1891– Cliveden 1959) (36)
Object Type Oil painting (14400)

Record Status


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